NBC said today he will return to the network as the final comic mentor on Last Comic Standing on Thursday at 10 PM. In the episode, the final five comics are flown to meet surprise guest Leno in Las Vegas and ask him questions about stand-up comedy. He answers, shares personal stories and anecdotes and gives advice before the next stand-up routines that whittle the contestants to four. The season finale is August 14.
Jay Leno has kept himself busy since departing as longtime host of The Tonight Show in February, from hosting his car show Jay Leno’s Garage (it was nominated for an Emmy) to surprising Arsenio Hall to announce (prematurely, it turned out) that The Arsenio Hall Show had been renewed, He also was inducted into the TV Academy’s Hall of Fame in March, and the next month he had a street named for him on the Universal lot.
Tara Lynne Barr has booked a recurring role in NBC‘s upcoming series Aquarius, a gritty 1960s drama about a cop (David Duchovny) who goes undercover to track Charles Manson and the Manson Family before their infamous murder spree. APA-repped Barr will play Katie (Patricia Krenwinkle), one of Manson’s adoring acolytes, who helps him lay a trap for the unwitting Emma, and later joins in the party when Manson deflowers his new recruit. Barr will next be seen in upcoming horror thriller feature 6 Miranda Drive.
Read More »
The Blacklist star James Spader may have been snubbed for an Emmy nomination this year, but he got a lot of love today from the Comic-Con crowd. The actor drew a roar from the more than 1,000 fans in the packed room 6A of the San Diego Convention Center. “It’s been quite a journey, this craziness — and the craziness really started last year right here at Comic-Con,” Spader said after the applause died down. Then again, one year after his debut at the confab and with a breakout show success in the crime drama, the man who plays former super-fugitive Raymond Reddington is a geekfest multitasker this time round thanks to his part as the primary villain in next year’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron pic – which got a big cheer when Spader mentioned his work on the Marvel movie.
Related: TCA: NBC Drama Series Showrunners Tell TV Critics How It’s Done
Not that the panel didn’t cut to the Blacklist chase. There was a big casting announcement with the revelation that Mary-Louise Parker would be joining the NBC series in Season 2 in a recurring role as a character named Naomi Highland. EP/creator Jon Bokenkamp didn’t reveal any more details of the former Weeds star’s Blacklist involvement, but he described the character as “completely tied to Reddington.”
Related: Emmy Snubs: ‘The Blacklist,’ James Spader And More
Then there is the question of relationships on a show all about unknown relationships. “The question of who is Reddington to Elizabeth Keen is the central conceit to the show,: responded Bokenkamp to questions of whether Reddington is the rookie FBI agent’s father, “but we’re really not going to answer that.” From burn marks to pocket photos and the secrets of a dying man, the May 12 Season 1 finale set up a lot for the show’s return – especially about who Reddington really is and what his relationship with Keen might be. Spader himself had some thoughts on the big question. “The real relationship is their present relationship,” the lead actor said. “Destinations aren’t enough. The ultimate answer should be that looking backwards.” Read More »
Peter Sarsgaard has been cast as the lead in NBC’s The Slap. Also cast in a lead role in the 8-hour miniseries, based on the 2011 Australian short-run series, is Weeds‘ Mary-Louise Parker. The Slap is described as a complex family drama that explodes from one small incident where a man slaps another couple’s misbehaving child. The seemingly minor domestic dispute pulls the family apart, begins to expose long-held secrets, and ignites a lawsuit that challenges the core American values of all who are pulled into it.
Sarsgaard will play Hector, a husband and father who loves his wife and family but shows signs of weakness when he finds himself succumbing to the advances of his wife’s teenaged receptionist during his own party. Hector’s cousin is the one who slaps the child. Parker will play Anouk, a close friend of Hector’s who’s the head writer on a TV show and is now dating the younger leading man. Sarsgaard, repped by CAA, Jon Rubenstein at Authentic, and Jodi Peikoff, and Parker are the first actors cast in The Slap, written by Jon Robin Baitz and to be directed by Lisa Cholodenko (the first two hours) for Universal TV and Australia’s Matchbox Pictures, producer of the original series. Baitz, Cholodenko and Matchbox’s Tony Ayres executive produce with Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald as well as Ted Gold. Read More »
UPDATE: 5:49 PM: There were a few surprises at the Hannibal panel today after all. Both leads Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy appeared to Ballroom 20 via short individual video greetings with the former in Denmark and the latter from Australia.
Also, it turns out Season 3 will pick up a year after the brutal events of the Season 2 finale. Episode 4 of Season 3 will fill in what happened between the two cycles, Bryan Fuller disclosed. He also revealed after a half-joking question by moderator Jonathan Ross that Eddie Izzard in fact will return to the series. “We’re writing for Eddie Izzard to return in a flashback scene,” said Fuller to applause from the packed ballroom about the reappearance of the losing limbs Dr. Abel Gideon. Izzard appeared in 5 episodes in Season 2. BTW – Raul Esparza did show up, and he’s coming back to the show.
PREVIOUS, 4:05 PM: Bryan Fuller doesn’t spare Hannibal viewers the raw deal on the show and he has no intention of doing otherwise today at Comic-Con. “We’re pretty generous with the spoilers,” the showrunner refreshingly told me just before this afternoon’s panel. “We will be talking fairly openly about events in Season 3 and hopefully getting people excited.” If last year’s SDCC appearance by the NBC series is any indication, the fans in Ballroom 20 will be very exited indeed. Despite a sometime … Read More »
NBC has shipped pirate drama Crossbones to Saturday for its last two airings, with this Friday’s episode the last to air in the series’ regular Friday 10 PM slot. The John Malkovich starrer will then be replaced by an NBC News special and Dateline for the following two weeks. Crossbones, which had been in the works for a long time, having been announced at NBC’s 2012 May upfront, started slow and has since lost half of its premiere rating, most recently drawing a 0.5 in 18-49 and 2.7 million viewers last Friday. NBC often sends underperforming dramas to end their runs on the low-trafficked Saturday night, something it previously did with Smash and Crisis.
Ambyr Childers (Ray Donovan, We Are What We Are) and Beau Mirchoff (Awkward) have been cast as recurring in NBC‘s upcoming series Aquarius, a gritty 1960s drama about a cop (David Duchovny) who goes undercover to track Charles Manson and the Manson Family before their infamous murder spree. Childers, repped by McKeon/Myones Management and UTA, will play Susan Atkins, who lures Emma’s boyfriend away as part of Manson’s plan to recruit her. Mirchoff, repped by APA, Velocity Entertainment Partners and Ginsburg Daniels, will play Rick Zondervan, a fictitious UCLA student who takes his girlfriend to a drug party in Laurel Canyon where they run into infamous Charles Manson.
Miguel Sandoval has been upped to a series regular on NBC’s single-camera comedy Bad Judge. It centers on a hard-living, sexually unapologetic woman (Kate Walsh) whose life on the edge is constantly in balance as she also happens to be a judge in the criminal court system. Sandoval, who guest starred in the pilot, plays Judge Connors, her boss on the San Bernardino County bench, who gives her extra work because he believes in her as a judge. He is repped by Greene & Assoc. and manager Ben Levine.
Comcast has become so big and complex that its earnings are almost always mixed — and Q2 was no exception, although the combination of soft revenue growth with strong profits sent shares up 2.1% in pre-market trading. The cable giant reported net income of $2.03B, +16.1% vs the period last year, on revenues of $16.84B, +3.5%. Analysts expected the top line to come in a little higher, at $16.95B. But earnings at 76 cents a share handily beat the consensus forecast of 72 cents.
NBCUniversal also seemed to have a split personality with operating cash flow +20.4% to $1.43B while revenues were +0.3% to $6.02B. The main Cable Networks operation saw sales grow 2.6% to $2.48B with affiliate fees +4.2% while ad sales fell 2.2%. Still, by controlling costs, the unit’s operating cash flow rose 6.3% to $914M. The Broadcast Television unit told a similar story: With rising retransmission consent fees, its revenues increased 4.9% to $1.8B. But ad sales fell 1.7%, which the network partly attributes to having fewer hours of The Voice than it had last year. Still, broadcast operating cash flow increased 16.2% to $240M reflecting, the company says, “a slight increase in operating costs and expenses.” Theme Parks proved to be NBCU’s most consistent performer despite the increased costs for Orlando’s The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley attraction which opened this month. Attendance and spending were both up, resulting in a 12.8% increase in revenues to $615M with … Read More »
UPDATE, 8:57 AM: ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC as well as the cable networks have just broken away from normal programming to cover President Obama‘s remarks live from the White House on the latest from yesterday’s Malaysia Airlines disaster over the Ukraine. Obama said one U.S. citizen was among the 298 passengers killed from what is suspected to be a surface-to-air missile launched by pro-Russian rebels. He called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and demanded a credible investigation, saying a UN investigation is already underway with Ukraine and Russia expected to cooperate fully. Read More »
NBC loves using its talent competition stalwarts, The Voice and America’s Got Talent, to preview its new shows. This September, the network will air a sneak preview of new crime dramedy The Mysteries of Laura following the season finale of America’s Got Talent on Sept. 17 at 10 PM. The series starring Debra Messing will have its time period premiere the following Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 8 PM. Mysteries of Laura, from Warner Bros. TV, Berlanti Prods. and Kapital Entertainment, is the only light drama among NBC’s new hourlong scripted series for next season and the only procedural, making it a good candidate to air behind the comedic AGT. It stars Messing as Laura Diamond, a brilliant NYPD homicide detective who balances her “Columbo” day job with a crazy family life that includes two unruly twin boys and a soon-to-be ex-husband — also a cop — who just can’t seem to sign the divorce papers.
At the end of its day at Summer TV Press Tour 2014, NBC brought out four of the showrunners on returning drama series to take questions. Matt Olmstead (Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D.) said that when he was working on a cable program, “I missed doing 22 [episodes],” while John Eisendrath (The Blacklist) said, “Having never done a 12-episode order, I’m totally jealous.”
Eisendrath was set up to vent about the fact that neither The Blacklist nor its star James Spader scored Drama Series Emmy noms on Thursday. He said he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t disappointed. “I think he’s completely deserving of it. The competition is fierce, that’s the reality — TV is thriving, there’s that much competition. I was disapointed, but I understand how it happened and what happened. We have to continue to do the best shows we can and hope we’re on long enough for people to reconsider,” he concluded, diplomatically.
All the showrunners were asked a certain number of beauty-pageant questions, like ‘what qualities are necessary in a showrunner?’ Jason Katims (Parenthood, About A Boy) went with “embrace the collaborative nature of making a television show”; Eisendrath went with “not to panic..and be open to new ideas.” Asked what was the most difficult part of the job, Olmstead said, “Trying to figure out what … Read More »
Faced with a series title like A to Z, it’s no surprise TV journalists were like dogs chewing a bone at today’s TCA panel on the show, demanding that producers and cast of the new NBC comedy series reveal whether the show will be done in one season.
No, EPs Rashida Jones, Ben Queen and Will McCormack explained patiently. The idea is that each season will complete a phase in the relationship of new couple Andrew (Ben Feldman) and Zelda (Cristin Milioti). No, the title doesn’t mean each season will feature a new couple.
Read More »
TV critics seem to have reservations about NBC’s new comedy series Bad Judge. The single-camera comedy stars Kate Walsh as Rebecca Wright, a tough judge serving in the Los Angeles County courts, whose private life is pretty wild. In the comedy, co-created by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay and Anne Heche, Wright meets an eight-year-old boy whose parents she’d put in the hoosegow.
Walsh said she loved the idea of playing a character who, in the first four pages of the script, wakes up with a hangover, gets a pregnancy test and is revealed to be a judge. “It was super appealing,” she said, describing her initial reaction to the role as the sensation of having her nose pressed up to a candy-store window.
Read More »
Telenovela actress Angelica Celaya will join the cast of NBC’s new supernatural thriller Constantine as the character Zed, the show’s producers revealed at today’s TCA panels.
Executive producer Daniel Cerone — appearing on the panel with EP David S. Goyer and cast members Harrold Perrineau, Matt Ryan (who plays the title role) and Charles Halford — described Zed as a character with “an interesting dark past” and called her a perfect foil for the Constantine character. “Zed is intuitive, she can detect bulls***,” he said, and Constantine is a “bulls*** artist.”
The psychic Zed character will serve as a replacement of sorts for the character of Liv Aberdine, played by True Blood actress Lucy Griffiths, who is leaving the show. The network had previously announced that the Zed character, who appears in the Hellblazer and Constantine comics series on which the series is based, would be aded during early episodes of the show.
The producers said that there was no need to reshoot the pilot without Griffiths. In Constantine’s life, Goyer said, “characters drop around him like flies” and having the character leave the show seemed “kind of consistent with the character.”
Goyer called Constantine “one of the great characters of modern literature” but added that the success of the 2005 movie Constantine with Keanu Reeves “didn’t hurt.“ He says when he was given his choice of comic-book characters for a TV franchise, he chose Constantine. “He is the best the … Read More »
In NBC’s new series The Mysteries of Laura, Debra Messing stars as Laura Diamond, who according to NBC materials is “a brilliant NYP homicide detective balancing her ‘Columbo’ day job with a crazy family life.” But what, journalists were asking today, is “mysterious” — or even unusual — about a woman juggling family and career in 2014?
At today’s TCA panel on her new show, Messing was joined by other cast members Laz Alonso, Josh Lucas and Janina Gavankarand, as well as the male executive producers Jeff Rake, McG, Greg Berlanti and Aaron Kaplan. They were quick to respond that exposing the working-mom dynamic is not the point of the show.
Read More »
“In the pilot, a couple of times, the word ‘f***’ is used,” a TV critic said, kicking off the Q&A session for NBC’s new comedy Marry Me at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. “Is that it?” series creator David Caspe asked, after waiting in vain for the “question” part of the TV critics’ comment. The critic elaborated: “Are you going to be writing it this way, and…let Standards cut it out?”
“Come on! Do it!” urged cast member Tim Meadows, who plays one of Casey Wilson‘s gay dads on the comedy series. “I haven’t thought about it much,” Caspe answered. “Maybe a little bit, here and there, and then I cut it.”
There’s been a lot of talk about pushing broadcast-content boundaries during NBC’s portion of the semi-annual tour. Entertainment division chairman Bob Greenblatt talked about the challenges broadcasters face in trying to compete against cable at the Emmys, given broadcast TV’s time and content disadvantages.
And, during a session for new drama State of Affairs, executive producer Joe Carnahan said his goal for the series was to push content boundaries to create a drama that would “out-do what cable has become, (which is), let’s face it, the standard bearer.” To which, his fellow State of Affairs EP Ed Bernero, responded, “We have to use a little bit different language, and can’t show sex as much,” but the … Read More »
Katherine Heigl’s appearance at Summer TV Press Tour 2014, to discuss her return to series TV, was as dramatic as you’d expect. The hall was packed with media to hear Heigl talk about her new NBC series State of Affairs, in which she plays a CIA analyst who presents the U.S. President’s daily briefing on security issues facing the country. Heigl, you’ll remember, is the actress who became a major star on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, then left that series to focus on her film career — but only after alienating some on Grey’s for, among other incidents, telling the media she had not submitted herself for Emmy consideration one season because she did not think she had been given good enough material.
Then there was that Vanity Fair interview she gave after filming feature comedy Knocked Up, from writer/director Judd Apatow, starring opposite Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Leslie Mann, in which Heigl said she enjoyed the work, but not so much the film, because it was “a little sexist,” “paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.” For those comments, the media described her as an “ungrateful traitor,” among other yeasty comments.
Before Heigl’s Q&A, a TV critic asked NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke why Katherine’s mother, “stage mom” Nancy Heigl, was scheduled for that Q&A and listed as one of State of Affairs’ executive producers. Salke explained that Katherine came with … Read More »